Wednesday, August 25, 2010

No Greater Sanction

The New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department imposed reciprocal discipline in a matter involving an attorney who had not registered to practice in New York since 2001. The attorney also is admitted in New Jersey and Florida. New Jersey suspended the attorney for three months for misconduct in a personal injury matter. Florida suspended him for 10 days for misconduct unrelated to the New Jersey matter.

The departmental disciplinary committee sought a six-month suspension as reciprocal discipline, which the court rejected in favor of a three-month sit down:

While the Committee seeks to enhance respondent's sanction by three months, we see no basis for departing from the well settled rule, that with rare exception, any sanction we impose be commensurate with the sanction imposed by the jurisdiction where the misconduct arose. Here, the Committee is not asking that we sanction respondent for his failure to register with OCA (Judiciary Law ยง 468-a), but is simply asking for an enhancement on its petition for reciprocal discipline based on the same. Insofar as the Committee is free to take separate and appropriate action with regard to respondent's failure to register with OCA, and, in fact, has, enhancement on this ground is unwarranted. Enhancement is also unwarranted simply because we cannot issue monetary sanctions (22 NYCRR 605.5). Moreover, the three month suspension prescribed by New Jersey is in line with our precedent on the type of misconduct at issue (Schlem at 222 [three month suspension in reciprocal discipline proceeding where in addition to violating RPC 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, respondent also violated RPC 8.4 (misrepresentation) and 8.1 (failure to cooperate with the disciplinary investigation)]; Siegel at 161 (three month suspension for respondent's neglect of two client matters, his failure to cooperate with the Committee's investigation, and misrepresentation made to clients]).

(Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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